Where to Get COVID Testing: A Comprehensive Guide to Testing Centers

Are you aware of when and where you should get tested for COVID? It’s a severe infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which leads to (mild to moderate) respiratory illness. Most people can recover without any special treatment. However, some people become severely ill and require medical attention. It is a very contagious disease, but some practices might help to prevent it. Learn when and where you should get tested for COVID-19 and best practices to prevent it in this article. Log on to www.doralhw.org for a consultation.

Symptoms

If you get infected with COVID-19, you may experience a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe illnesses. Your symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days (about 2 weeks) after getting exposed to the virus. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Your symptoms may change with new COVID-19 variants and can vary depending on vaccination status as well. These symptoms can be different in older adults and people who have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, and heart or lung disease.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Usually, the virus spreads through close contact with an infected person. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks; if these droplets can land in the mouth or nose of healthy people or are inhaled into the lungs you will get infected. Some recent studies also show that COVID-19 may be spread by people who don’t have any symptoms as well.

Types of tests

There are 2 types of tests that are used to diagnose COVID-19:

  1. PCR Tests: These tests are the gold standard to diagnose COVID-19 because they provide accurate results. It is a type of nucleic acid amplification test used to detect viruses. A sample of nasal swabs is collected by a healthcare provider and sent to the laboratory to extract your genetic material from the rest of the sample. Then, they use special chemicals and enzymes on the sample and put it on a PCR machine called a thermal cycler. This machine applies a heating and cooling cycle on the genetic material to detect the virus strain. The results may take 3 days to receive.
  2. Antigen Tests: These tests are also known as rapid tests because they can produce results within 15 to 30 minutes. While its positive results are fully accurate and reliable, its negative results are not exceptionally reliable because it can’t detect a lesser number of virus strains especially if symptoms are not present. However, it’s a good option if you test yourself for covid at home. Visit your healthcare provider and get a PCR test to confirm your doubts.

Where can you order free at-home COVID test kits?

You can order your free at-home COVID test kits online at covidtests.gov by just entering your first name, last name, and shipping address, then clicking on “Check Out Now.” As this service is implemented by the government, you don’t need to enter any payment information, proof of identity, or health insurance information. However, you can add your email address if you want to know shipping updates.

Your COVID test kit may be shipped within 7 to 12 days (about 1 week 5 days) of ordering and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

You can also order your tests via phone on 1-800-232-0233 between 8 am to midnight ET, seven days a week. You can get help in more than 150 other languages. Disabled people can call the Disability Information and Access Line at 1-888-677-1199 for help placing their orders.

Who’s eligible for at-home test kits?

Every resident of the United States is eligible for at-home test kits. You don’t need to submit your proof of citizenship or disclose your immigration status. So, you can order free COVID tests without getting a public charge and affecting your green-card applications, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Do I have to pay for onsite COVID-19 testing?

Well, it depends on your health insurance plan. If your private health insurance covers tests that are medical necessity, then COVID-19 testing will be covered by your insurance. Make sure your healthcare professional shows its importance in documents. You just have to pay a certain amount for testing if your health plan requires cost-sharing.

Keep in mind that insurers are permitted to limit the number of tests covered under insurance, so the required testing needs to come under medical necessity.

How can I obtain a low- or no-cost COVID-19 test at an onsite location?

Low- or no-cost COVID-19 tests are available to New Yorkers for those who are uninsured, at health centers and select pharmacies. If you’re from New York, then contact your healthcare provider or local public health department to get more information. You can use the testing locator provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://testinglocator.cdc.gov.

Best practices

Here are some best practices you can use to prevent COVID-19 infection:

  • First, try to avoid being exposed to the virus by wearing a mask or washing your hands frequently.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water properly for at least 20 seconds especially after meeting people or using commonly shared places or objects like restrooms, chairs, etc. In case you can’t wash your hands or water, or soap is not available, then carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and 40% water solution to kill 99% of germs from your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you wash your hands properly.
  • Avoid making close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and avoid covering it with your hands. Instead, use your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touchable objects and surfaces like doorknobs, utensils, etc.
  • Maintain a good distance between you and the other person during conversation.
  • Get a vaccine.

Getting COVID testing is not difficult today because government plans like at-home testing make it amazingly easy to get tested in the comfort of your home. However, in case your result is negative then you should visit your healthcare provider to get a PCR test to get accurate results. If your result is negative, you should only focus on best practices to avoid getting infected. Whereas, if your result is positive, then follow doctor-recommended treatment measures to treat your virus and stop its spread.

If you need help with COVID-19 testing, visit our infectious disease clinic in Brooklyn to get the best medical help for your symptoms. Call us to book your appointment or for inquiries. Our infectious disease doctors make sure your condition gets diagnosed and treated properly. For more information or to make an appointment, call us to get a consultation. Call us on +1-347-384-5690. If you need any information on infections, log on to www.doralhw.org  get a consultation. We have the best doctors that can help you and improve your quality of life!